Book Reviews: The Presidents & Their Faith

Out of Mormonism

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The Presidents & Their Faith: From George Washington to Barack Obama by Darrin Grinder & Steve Shaw (Russell Media)

This short but amazingly comprehensive book is similar to other books on the faith of America's presidents. While naturally including many exact quotes from numerous treatments of the subject, the authors do present certain limited facts and emphases not covered by other writers. Since this is the first volume to include a current president's religious beliefs before he completes his term in office, some revisions may have to be made in future editions of the book.

However, these writers have made a significant contribution to an important aspect of America's history. While the actual quotes from our presidents' speeches concerning their Christian faith are limited, some have not been readily available in other sources. This book should be of great interest both to historians and theologians to aid in discovering and investigating our country's Christian heritage through each president's faith.

Ed Spann, retired dean

College of Fine Arts

Dallas Baptist University

Out of Mormonism: A Woman's True Story by Judy Robertson (Bethany House)

How much do you know about Mormonism? Perhaps you've enjoyed their magnificent Tabernacle Choir. Possibly you've encountered their clean-cut missionaries. Maybe you understand adherents don't ingest caffeine. Possibly you're aware of the TV show Sister Wives. Almost certainly, you've heard talk of a Mormon presidential candidate's faith. But what do you really know?

Judy Robertson shares her story in Out of Mormonism. Typical of many converts, Robertson and her husband admired the group's clean living and family values. After an unpleasant experience in their family's mainline Protestant church and after moving three states away from home, the Robertsons became easy marks.

In this newly revised edition, the author details the family's journey into fully embracing Mormonism. But she also tells how the couple made the difficult transition back to a Bible-believing church and the heart-wrenching impact their decision had on their two children and her husband's job.

An epilogue, four appendices and a glossary add to understanding the faith, its appeal and the way out to eternal life through Christ. Judy Robertson's autobiography offers insights and information helpful for Christians in today's climate who need to know more about Mormonism.

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president

Woman's Missionary Union of Texas


The Pickled Priest and the Perishing Parish: Boomer Pastors Bouncing Back by Hal West (CrossBooks)

Author and pastor Hal West poses an important question: How will Boomer pastors revive the church in the 21st century?

West is one of about 78 million Boomers in the United States—part of the group born between 1946 and 1964, a time when churches formed a major role in shaping the value system in America. West beautifully describes a Mayberry-esque upbringing when manners, honesty and church attendance defined the norm. Churches grew. If you built it, they would come.

Today's pastors who continue modeling that same leadership style in a drastically changed church are witnessing perishing parishes. Church attendance continues to decline. West asks: How will pastors introduce God to future generations if they won't enter the church? Good question.

Although I don't find revolutionary answers, I appreciate the willingness of Pastor West to clearly articulate and initiate conversation. The author seeks to bring both the church and its people back. That is the beginning of wisdom.

Angie Vaughan


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